Lately in the car I’ve been listening to country music. Don’t ask me why; perhaps because it drives my young teenage daughters nuts.
I have to admit, some of the songs get a little silly. There’s All My Exes Live in Texas. The somewhat icky Her Teeth Were Stained but Her Heart Was Pure. And our personal favorite, I’ve Been Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart (it’s a real song – look it up).
Honestly, after a while, these songs all start to sound sort of the same.
But have you ever heard Carrie Underwood’s 2007 hit song Before He Cheats?
This song is not your average I-caught-him-cheating-and-he-broke-my-heart song. Instead, this song is a I-caught-him-cheating-and-I-taught-him-a-lesson song. And it’s as far from forgettable cliché as you can get.
The devil is in the details
The songwriters, Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear, could have taken the easy route. They could have just told us that this gal was a bit upset that her boyfriend was cheating on her. They could have even told us that she was so mad that she took a bat and busted up his truck.
Instead, Carrie sings:
I dug my key into the side of his
Pretty little souped up four-wheel drive.
Carved my name into his leather seats…
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
Slashed a hole in all four tires…
Holy smokes! You’re right there, in the middle of the action, and you can picture the whole darn thing. This guy didn’t just drive a truck, you immediately know that this guy loved his “pretty little souped up four-wheel drive.” She didn’t just hit it with a bat, she took a “Louisville slugger to both headlights”. And in your mind’s eye you can see this trashed up truck sitting on flat tires with headlight glass on the ground and the leather seats destroyed. And as the song goes on, you’re spellbound, thinking to yourself Oh no she didn’t…
These details make this song unique.
So how can you put this power to work for you?
Let details make the difference
TV advertisers have long understood the power of details.
Oreck vacuum cleaners aren’t just powerful; they can lift a bowling ball off the ground.
Tempurpedic mattresses aren’t just stable; a glass of red wine placed on one side of the mattress won’t spill when you jump on the other side.
With these details, you customer can picture exactly what your product can do for him.
On the other hand, what if you provide a service that’s complicated and hard to describe?
Case studies do the job – whether they’re short summaries or fully-fleshed-out stories.
For example, your company doesn’t just provide online marketing. Instead, describe that for a recent client you strategically placed pay-per-click ads and targeted online banner advertising to draw 10,000 qualified customers to a specially-designed interactive 10-page micro-site.
In writing parlance, it’s called “Show, don’t tell.” Sharing the right details makes it easier for the customer to understand what you do. Even better, he’ll start to realize he’s hungry to get those results for his company, too.
So do details sell?
Here’s what Carrie Underwood knows.
Before He Cheats is her most successful single to date. The Country Music Association named it the 2007 Single of the Year. In 2010 it went triple platinum. It’s the best selling single from an American Idol contestant so far. As of June 2012, it had 3.3 million downloads. And it’s the fourth best selling country song of all time.
Yeah, details sell.
Oh, and don’t ever cheat on Carrie.